USD 2 million to Pune firm to develop swine flu vaccine: WHO



"WHO has given two million dollars to Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune to develop and manufacture the vaccine. They have been asked to develop vaccines for both seasonal flu as well as swine flu," Dr Jai P Narain, director, communicable diseases in south-east Asian regional office of WHO said.

Europe and America are in the process of developing the vaccines, he said.

"India will be ready with the vaccine in another two to four months. Till then we should not panic. We should emphasise on preventive actions on all levels like washing our hands repeatedly, take immense fluid and cover the mouth and the nose if showing flu like symptoms," Dr Poonam K Singh, deputy regional director of WHO's office here, said.

As per data available with the international organisation, Thailand and Indonesia are the worst affected countries in the south east Asian region because of the H1N1 virus. While 11,398 confirmed cases of swine flu have been reported in Thailand, 771 have been reported in Indonesia.

"Already 97 deaths have been reported in Thailand as per the latest WHO data on regions with pandemic H1N1," said another official.

Dr Narain also cautioned that "Tamiflu should not be administered to all cases. At a time when it is the only respite and no vaccines are available, irrational use and administration of tamiflu to normal flu patients can lead to drug resistance."

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